If I love myself more, who loses?
Dispatch #13: A month of asking questions
So far May has brought with it bouts of insomnia, delirious creativity, welcome sunlight, cuddles with Odyssey, & a particularly delicious moment in which Angel & I ordered cookies from Insomnia Cookies at 11 PM. When you need cookies, you need cookies. It has also brought, as mentioned in last month’s dispatch, tons of questions. If you’re following along you know that I’ve decided that this May is actually “May?” - a month of practicing the art of questioning. Here are some that I’ve jotted down so far in my Question Practice notebook:
• Did Jesus get annoyed? Was Jesus ever annoying?
• Will I ever go to bed before 3 AM?
• If a cloud is a sponge, is a sponge a cloud?
• If I love myself more, who loses?
• What kind of stillness is a spoon?
• Does a croissant ‘ampersand’?
• What is your home’s most unnoticed appliance?
• In what language is the word for ‘silence’ the longest?
Have you also been asking questions this holy month of “May?” - if so, I’d love hear them.
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On a recent walk through my neighborhood, I came across a beautiful gallery, totally free of charge. I learned (by asking a young girl sitting on the porch) that the artists were herself (Aria, age 8) and her sister (Alice, age 10).
What are we supposed to do with such beauty?
I am amazed by each of their mosaics, these shards of color like bites of light. I should have asked Aria: How did Alice get such sharpness to the spaces between the shards? What was her technique? What was the process of shard-creation - was it conceived in full, or realized shard by shard?
Speaking of artists, a friend recently introduced me to Harry Fonseca, a gay visual artist of Nisenan Maidu, Hawaiian, & Portugese heritage. I am obsessed with his couragecolors, the dignity & wilderness of his coyotes, the Queerness flexing throughout his work. Isn’t it one of the most amazing feelings - discovering a new artist that makes your blood light up & sing?
• I’ve been reflecting on this quote by Alan Kay: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
In what ways am I inventing the future?
Am I proud of what I’m inventing or is there room to imagine in even wilder, more compassionate strokes?
What are small, daily ways to invent the future?
What are epic, visionary ways I might contribute to inventing the future?
• The August session of In Surreal Life is open for registration! The incredible Edgar Kunz, Chen Chen, & Camonghne Felix will be our Visiting Artists (gasp). Join us this summer in what ISL Alum Laurel Shimasaki called “the warmest and most encouraging workshop experience I have had. Shira does an amazing job at setting the tone and it is contagious. It's a wonderful environment to experiment and make new work.” ISL Alum Paulina Ukrainets agrees, saying “ISL has been the most powerful reminder of the kind of magic you're able to generate just through paying attention. Shira's spectacular prompts & the greater ISL community have created the most tender space, in which I was able to fall in love with so much of life, because so much of life was suddenly deemed worthy of attention.”
Come spend some of your summer writing in community - but not only that, come spend it shifting how you see & experience the world. How can we craft ways to be more open to the unfolding world? What might it be like to look at a sudden rainstorm as a poem? To feel poetry in the nooks & crannies of our days, not just in Huge Lifechanging Events TM? As ISL Alum Molly Raynor said, “This workshop helped me become fluent in poetry again. When I'm writing consistently, everything goes from mundane daily details to possible material for a poem, so thank you, thank you.”
If you’ve been toying with joining & looking for a sign, well, my love, this is your sign.
• These playing cards are from the Rocks & Minerals playing card set I purchased from Spotty Dog Books & Ale while I was in Hudson, NY. I pulled a card each morning before working on my novel & my new Slowdown episodes. I then found its tarot equivalent & read my tarotscope for the day as a way to center myself.
Just today, I pulled the 3 of clubs (or wands) while thinking of you all, zine readers! My favorite lil’ trusted tarot site tells me that the 3 of wands is all about exploration, foresight, & leadership. It’s about “leaving the secure behind”& “tackling something different,” “being visionary” & “looking for greater possibilities.” Yum! That’s what Freer Form is all about!
• This map is so fun & visually pleasing. Type in your own author (where I typed “Oscar Wilde”) & feel your eyes boi-oi-oing at some new discoveries. Then click on one of the off-shoots & see where you end up! & so on, & so on!
• Perhaps nothing has had a more profound effect on me this month (& maybe even year?) than this Between the Covers interview with professor & writer Christina Sharpe. Stunning. Mind-shaping. Couragecolors. I am salivating at the chance to read her new book Ordinary Notes & to dive deeper into her catalogue. She is a singular question-asker. I strive to live in a world where our minds move at her level of fathoming & compassion.
Thank you for being here. Thank you to the new subscribers - paying & otherwise. I’d love to know what questions are guiding you all, what quotes are sticking to your ribs, what podcasts you can’t get enough of. Leave a comment & let me know.
What future do you hope to invent?
Here’s to the temporary & the forever. The teensy-tiny & the infinite. The powerful seeded deep in all of us.
With ample maple syrup,